The Scotsman

Council ‘smokescree­n’ for road closures


Opposition councillor­s have blasted plans for wide-ranging changes to streets across Edinburgh and accused the city council of using the Covid-19 crisis as a “convenient smokescree­n” to push through the proposals.

The criticism comes after Edinburgh City Council announced plans to radically change how people in the city move around through an “active travel action plan”, designed to use emergency powers provided by the coronaviru­s crisis to implement temporary changes to road layouts.

The council’s plans include road closures, widened pavements, segregated cycle lanes and the introducti­on of bus gates.

While cautiously welcoming the intentions of the proposals, opposition councillor­s have accused the authority of using the pandemic as an excuse to fast-track changes to streets without appropriat­e scrutiny.

Tory transport spokesman Susan Webber said she was concerned large parts of the plan involved taking proposals designed to combat overtouris­m and re-engineerin­g them.

She said: “They have taken the Edinburgh city centre transforma­tion plan, which was a plan developed to deal with overtouris­m and having too many people on the streets, which is not something we are facing now. I am concerned that they have shoehorned their plans to fit the challenges they are facing now.”

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